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A NZ first in Golden Bay

Hon Damien O’Connor
MP, West Coast-Tasman

16 August 2005 Media Advisory

A NZ first in Golden Bay

Prime Minister Helen Clark and West Coast-Tasman MP Damien O'Connor will today meet with the Bag Ladies of Golden Bay and several Collingwood retailers to celebrate plastic bag free progress in the small Tasman community.

Collingwood, just north of Takaka, has announced its decision to go completely shopping bag free, making it the first town in New Zealand to take such a stance.

The move is part of a bigger plan - driven by a group called the Golden Bay Bag Ladies - for the whole of Golden Bay to be plastic shopping bag free.

"Both the Bag Ladies and Collingwood should be congratulated on their commitment and contribution to the environment," said Mr O'Connor. "It's estimated that, although tiny, the Golden Bay community consumes 1 million plastic shopping bags each year.

"Meanwhile, New Zealand-wide, we work our way through 800 million bags. With the community right behind them, the Golden Bay Bag Ladies are helping reduce these numbers and educate people about alternatives. Their initiative and progress to date are impressive."

The community had voluntarily reduced their use of plastic shopping bags by about 50 per cent since the Bag Ladies campaign started in January this year, he said.

Collingwood's announcement comes as the Golden Bay community gears up for what it's calling a "Plastic Shopping Bag Famine" this weekend. People around the country are being asked to join the Bay in saying no to plastic bags.

Mr O'Connor said he had a reusable cotton bag at the ready for the 21st and 22nd. "I'm right behind what they're doing. It seems a bright, logical and important step towards cutting back on waste and ensuring sustainable communities."

The Golden Bay Bag Ladies will present the Prime Minister with one of their distinctive cloth bags and discuss their work when they meet with her this afternoon at Golden Bay's community radio studio in Takaka.


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